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Artist: England BanggalaArtist:Modijinu

Artist: Paddy Dhathangu
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Artist: Paddy Dhathangu



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ARTIST: Paddy Dhathangu 1914-1993

COLLECTED: 1976 Central Arnhem Land/Northern Territory/Australia

TITLE: Goannas and Olive Python from the series the Wagilag Sisters Story

SIZE: 65cm x46cm


This bark forms part of the Wagilag Sister Story

Two Sisters - the older of whom has a child, the younger is pregnant - set up camp at a waterhole called Mirarrmina in Liyagalawumirr country where the younger Sister gives birth. The Sisters are unaware that the waterhole is the sacred home of Wititj, the giant Olive Python, who is angered by their presence. Wititj rises erect in the sky, spitting out water which forms the rain clouds of the first monsoon. The Sisters perform songs and dances to stop the flood of rain, then Wititj descends and swallows the women and children and all their belongings. This ancestral narrative prescribes the laws of marriage, the origins of ceremonies and the coming of the first monsoon and could only be painted by certain initiated men such as Paddy Dhathangu

This work by Paddy Dhatangu is a representation of part of the Wagilag Ceremony. It shows :Wititji-the olive python, Djarrka- the goannas, Dhapalany-itchy caterpillars, Wurrdjarra-the sandpalms and Rinytangu-the blood yam.
Paddy Dhatangu’s works are held in major institutional and private collections throughout Australia.

A major exhibition “The Painters of the Wagilag Sisters Story 1937-1997 “ was mounted by the National Gallery of Australia in 1997 and a book was produced featuring a number of Dhathangu’s works. This exhibition and book were dedicated to Paddy Dhathangu.


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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2018 18:22